Me and Jeremy Ben-Ami, Down by the Schoolyard (UPDATED)

By Jeffrey Goldberg

So I had that little encounter with Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder of the liberal group J Street, last evening at Ethical Culture here in NYC, where Team Goldblog has relocated for another 22 hours. I have no idea what I said (this is always the case when I speak in public, which is why I won't be running for office anytime soon) but Jeremy impressed me as a straightforward liberal Zionist. This is not to say I wasn't troubled by some of his policy prescriptions for the Middle East. He seems to think that Barack Obama can impose a solution on the Israelis and the Palestinians (and impose NATO troops on Israel's eastern border) and that will be that. I tried to explain that very few Israelis would agree, at this moment, to an evacuation of the hills overlooking Tel Aviv, but Jeremy seems to believe that American guarantees could overcome Israeli doubts.

Also, he thinks that nothing good will happen until the Palestinians reconcile with themselves, and he talked about Hamas-Fatah rapprochement, again, as something in the realm of the possible.

But more later. I have to go and function as a working journalist, which means no blogging, because, of course, blogging isn't work.

UPDATE: The Vice-President for Humor-Eradication of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Bloggers has written to Goldblog protesting my assertion that "blogging isn't work," and further accusing me of having "contempt" for my fellow, full-time bloggers. What I meant to say, of course, is that "blogging isn't work because it's too much fun to be considered work. I hope this clarifcation soothes any hurt feelings experienced by my fellow bloggers, who, in any case, and to borrow a formulation originated by Andrew Sullivan, have only scar tissue where their hearts used to be on account of all the abuse hurled at members of our noble profession.   

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/06/me-and-jeremy-ben-ami-down-by-the-schoolyard-updated/58293/